4 June 2012 – Eskom has returned Unit 1 of its Koeberg power station in the Western Cape of South Africa to service after the unit was shut down on the 12th of March 2012 for a scheduled refuelling, inspection and maintenance outage. Unit 2 at Koeberg continued to operate at full power during the period of Unit 1’s shut down.
Koeberg is Africa’s only existing nuclear power station and comprises two 900 MW units. Over the past three years the power station has had an average availability of 83.1%. Each of the two units of Koeberg is shut down for refuelling, inspection and maintenance approximately every 16 to 18 months, scheduled so as to avoid having both units out of service at the same time and to have both in service during the winter months.
Construction of Koeberg began in 1976 and Unit 1 was synchronised to the grid on the 4th of April 1984, with Unit 2 following on the 25th of July 1985. Koeberg boasts the largest turbine generators in the southern hemisphere and is the most southerly-situated nuclear power station in the world.
Low and intermediate level waste from Koeberg is transported by road in steel and concrete containers to a remote disposal site at Vaalputs, 600 km away in the Kalahari Desert. High level waste, the spent fuel, is stored on site in special pools quipped with high-density racking.
Koeberg ranks amongst the safest of the world’s top ranking pressurised water reactor nuclear power stations of its vintage and is the most reliable Eskom power station.